Chicago Police Superintendent
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announcing the appointment of Eddie Johnson as interim superintendent of the Chicago Police Department last month. Emanuel and Johnson announced April 21, 2016, that they would implement two dozen changes offered by a police accountability task force. Teresa Crawford—AP

Chicago to Implement Some — but Not All — Police Reforms

Apr 21, 2016

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will implement some reforms to the city's police department in response to a damning report that found officer mistreatment of minorities, but he does not plan to make immediate wholesale changes to how the department operates.

Emanuel announced Thursday that he would implement almost a third of the recommendations from a task force that investigated the police department’s conduct toward African-American residents, including more meetings with black communities, increased training to address implicit bias, and expanded use of Tasers and body cameras.

“As a city, we cannot rest until we fully address the systemic issues facing the Chicago police department, and the steps announced today build on our road to reform,” Emanuel said in a statement on Thursday.

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The 25 measures announced on Thursday by the mayor and new police superintendent Eddie Johnson also include expediting the public release of evidence after police shootings and reforming the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), which has come under criticism for not properly investigating complaints of officer misconduct.

The task force had called for IPRA to be dissolved completely and for a new organization to investigate issues related to the police's use of force. According to the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel is waiting for the U.S. Department of Justice to complete its investigation of the Chicago police department's practices before undertaking a broader overhaul.

Emanuel formed the Police Accountability Task Force in December following the death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot 16 times by Jason Van Dyke, a white officer. Video of the October 2014 incident was released more than a year later, leading to protests around the city and calls for Emanuel to step down.

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The task force’s report last week offered a stark image of the Chicago police department's practices, describing patterns of mistreatment toward black residents and painting the beleaguered force as having problems with systemic racism that have lingered for decades.

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